With companies striving to perfect a proactive approach to food safety, SKF is launching the new Food Line ball bearing units – Blue Range, which extends a hygienic-design mentality to bearing unit components for food-processing equipment.
Innovative ball bearing units expand hygienic-design possibilities, while delivering improved reliability, reduced maintenance costs, and increased sustainability for food and beverage companies.
Food safety is top priority
Since 2012, the food and beverage industry has seen a significant increase in units recalled – a 92.7% spike in FDA recalls and an 83.4% uptick in recalled products by the USDA. According to SKF South Africa’s F&B industry manager, Zachry Viljoen, bacterial contamination and undeclared allergens together represent 75% of the top FDA food recall causes based on units. With recalls on the rise, it’s no wonder that proactive food safety has become the foremost concern for food and beverage executives. While the broader approach to addressing food safety is top of the priorities, Viljoen says that understanding about contamination risks at the component level has been lacking, along with a solution to address it.
“Companies have safety practices to protect their food product. These might include measures such as posted signs encouraging hand-washing or purchasing hygienically designed ‘food grade’ machines,” says Victoria van Camp, CTO & president, Innovation and Business Development, SKF. “The problem is, traditional re-lubrication, wash-downs, and dry cleaning of bearings can create hidden means by which contaminants thrive, such as airborne droplets, wastewater, or contaminated grease. Eliminating these food-safety threats requires a different approach to hygienic design, and that’s what the Food Line ball bearings – Blue Range are designed to deliver,” concludes van Camp.
Food Line ball bearing units
SKF has specifically developed its Food Line ball bearing units from a clean sheet of paper, component by component, to improve hygiene, performance, and compliance with food safety regulations. Thanks to an innovative sealing system, high performing bearing grease, and complete seal-ability of the units where it’s needed, SKF Food Line ball bearings deliver outstanding performance benefits.
“This enables OEMs to innovate the performance and hygienic design of their food processing equipment through bearing units that last longer, are re-lubrication-free and highly cleanable,” continues Viljoen. “As a result, food and beverage processing companies can reduce unnecessary risks to food safety. The hygienic design of the bearing units reduces risk of bacteria build-up in hard-to-clean areas and minimises the spread of bacteria during cleaning.”
“Furthermore, they can lead to an increased production uptime,” adds Viljoen and he explains: “Because bearing units do not require re-lubrication, there is no need to stop equipment for lubrication activities and less time is required for cleaning excess bearing grease, consequently reducing downtime and maximising production opportunities.”
The Blue Range eliminates cost of re-lubrication and reduces bearing replacement frequency. The bearing units’ re-lubrication-free capability and high-performance even in challenging food and beverage processing environments, enable companies to eliminate re-greasing material and labour costs, while reducing the frequency, thus cost of bearing replacements.
“And it reduces environmental waste,” notes Viljoen. “With less hot water needed for cleaning, grease in waste water and components that can be 100% recycled and energy recovered, companies can foster a preventive- versus disposal-oriented environmental culture,” he concludes.